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Last Ninja, The Underdogs Hot

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Written by Underdogs     March 21, 2009    
 
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One of the most well-executed action games of all time, The Last Ninja is a great start of a great series that was a huge hit on the Commodore 64. This PC port is excellent, but unfortunately was not commercially successful.

The Last Ninja deserves notice not only as a thoroughly addictive action game, but also for the many innovations it brought to the genre. For starter, the game is one of the first isometric games on the market. Despite relatively primitive (EGA) graphics, characters move convincingly, and backgrounds are well-drawn to create good illusions of 3D landscape. Also, while other action games at the time offer only one type of combat, The Last Ninja features a mixture of hand-to-hand and ranged combat, with a variety of authentic ninja weapons. Another nifty innovation is the fact that the game's terrain is merely not the non-interactive pretty scenery as in most other games: they are obstacles that must be overcome. This is where the game can discourage action newbies from completing it. Not only will you have to deal with hordes of enemies constantly, but you must navigating around fatal features of the terrain. One of the most fatal is the *water* -- while your ninja can execute a staggering number of movements and attacks, he cannot swim. Thus, the game became incredibly frustrating as you move your Ninja pixel by pixel across the swamp and river terrain, trying to get that EXACT placement for the EXACT right jump from boulder to boulder.

Despite this contrivance, though, The Last Ninja is outstanding in every respect. Too bad the great music in the Commodore 64 version is not present in this PC port (due to PC speakers limitations), but otherwise it's an excellent version. Definitely a must-have for all action fans, although anyone who found Prince of Persia difficult should think twice about attempting to win-- this is a much harder game by far. Recommended!

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